Image: Sony unveiled the new Aibo 2018 version

INTERNATIONAL - Sony revealed a new version of the robotic dog Aibo at the CES ( Consumer Electronic Show) 2018 in Las Vegas. 

The new updated robot canine features artificial intelligence and internet connectivity.

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Aibo comes complete with flapping ears and its eyes, made of OLED light-emitting display, can show various emotions. Additional features include touch sensors on its head, chin and back so you can pet it. It also has a camera on its nose to help it recognize family members. 

The owner can play with the pet remotely via smartphone and even teach it tricks from the office for the faithful hound to perform when its “master” gets home. However, the dog does not speak human languages or perform tasks such as turning a light on. According to Sony’s Izumi Kawanishi who is in charge of the project, that is not the point of the product. 

“You don’t think about what the dog can do when you want to get a dog, do you?,” he asked reporters. “The point is that it touches a chord (with people),” he said. 

It builds up a “character” by interacting with people and while not always submissive, it is friendly towards those who are kind to it. What the machine “learns” is stored in the cloud so its “character” can be preserved even in the event of hardware damage.

Photos it takes can also be shared.

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To get Aibo as a pet will cost nearly $3 000 for a three-year package, including software services such as data storage. Aibo is not the Japanese electronic giant’s first pet product. 

Sony rolled out the first-generation dog in June 1999, with the initial batch of 3 000 selling out in just 20 minutes. It had a hefty price tag of 250 000 yen ($2 200 at current rates).

Over the following years, more than 150 000 units were sold. By 2006, Sony was facing fierce competition from rivals in all fields. Sony plans to release the new aibo overseas as well but no details are set yet.

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